This book contains the results of a study of urban reform conducted by the League of Women Voters Education Fund. The study centered mainly on examining the idea of setting up a regional government with neighborhood components, known as a two-tier government, in which every citizen has representation in both governments with a clear, uncomplicated way to communicate and to influence policy in each. Twenty-six metropolitan areas were surveyed; interviews were conducted of 389 officials and 351 citizen leaders in the 229 cities, counties, regional and neighborhood agencies in these areas. The goals of the survey were: to review the way metropolitan areas are separated into cities and counties, so predictions about ability to balance regional and local needs could be made; to get opinions from a cross-section of leaders of citizen organizations and public officials about how cities and counties respond to contemporary problems, and to get their reactions to proposals to change the system; to review the structural and administrative responses urban governments have made to cope with regional and neighborhood problems; and, finally, to provide citizens with examples of what they can do to change the policy-making process. Of the twenty-six areas surveyed, only four (Los Angeles-Long Beach, Miami-Dade County, Jacksonville, and Indianapolis) had taken steps to implement a combination area-wide and neighborhood government. Two areas (Minneapolis-St. Paul and Denver) had taken the intermediate step of establishing an umbrella authority over regional special districts. The major stumbling block to two-tier government appeared to be the whirlpool of contradictory forces surrounding it. There were the conflicting attitudes of citizens and officials: fear among inhabitants of small localities that they would lose local autonomy; fear among central city residents that they would lose newly gained political power. And there was the wide array of theories and programs to choose from, to meet both regional and neighborhood needs. In conclusion it was noted that whatever action is taken, it should be done with a view toward flexibility and responsiveness to citizen needs, and that only if citizens and public officials share in reform will effective, responsive urban government become a reality in metropolitan America.

  • Corporate Authors:

    League of Women Voters

    1730 M Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20036
  • Publication Date: 1974

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices;
  • Pagination: 138 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00096470
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 2 1975 12:00AM